After the initial burst of recording frenzy, I scouted around for other things to record and music programmes were the main target. In the late 1980s there were loads of music programmes on TV. As well as Top of the Pops, there was The Tube, The White Room, The Old Grey Whistle Test and various other chat shows and Saturday morning extravaganzas. So most of the period between 1985 and 1990 was spent with me having my finger permanently glued to the pause button in case something good should come on.
I still have the original Video Cassette with 3 hours of snippets from all sorts of bands but it is now over 20 years old and having been wound back and forth constantly, it is a little delicate and doesn’t always play properly. Somewhere in the middle is a short clip of Kate Bush at Abbey Road studios playing the piano and singing ‘Under the Ivy’ taken from ‘The Tube’ (and introduced by the late Paula Yates). It is quite enchanting, as I remember, but I daren’t try and find it now for fear of the tape disintegrating.
Happily, some kind soul has posted it on YouTube so I was able to reacquaint myself with it and confirm that it is one of those moments that makes your hairs stand up. ‘Under the Ivy’ did not appear on any Bush album but resided as a ‘B’ side on the ‘Running Up That Hill’ single. Notwithstanding its ‘reject’ status, it is a simple, short and infinitely beautiful song and the live rendition shown in the video shows Kate at her best – just her and a piano. Unfortunately, some bright spark of a TV producer has inserted a load of effects and snippets of her videos which rather spoil the atmosphere but it is still a mesmerising vocal performance from a true artist.
The last few seconds are quite revealing. As the song ends, Kate seems to ‘resurface’ to the real world and gives the camera a dazzling smile. It is almost like she enters an alternate world when she is performing, one which is completely unattached to reality and it takes a few seconds to pass between the two. Magic.